Judging from the titles available for preview, this year's Melbourne Latin American Film Festival is strong on hero-worshipping documentaries and movies that show deprivation through the wide eyes of cute children.Read More
Is this the cream of the continent's filmmaking output? Probably not, but it's clear that the festival's programmers had more than the love of "pure cinema" on their minds.
Notably, the gap between art and propaganda is less bridged than disregarded in Hector Cruz Sandoval's KordaVision - a jolly profile of the Cuban photographer Alberto "Korda" Diaz, best-known for an iconic image of Che Guevara still cherished by countless idealistic students worldwide. It's interesting to learn that Korda began as a fashion photographer, but changed tack after he was advised by no less a guru than Richard Avedon that his revolutionary images were closer to the real cutting edge.
Sergio Iglesias' Bialet Masse, un siglo despues (Bialet Masse, A Century Later) makes a more compelling case for the nobility of its nation-building hero, by turns doctor, lawyer, engineer and compiler of a landmark report on the condition of workers in early 20th-century Argentina. Using Masse's magnum opus as a guide, Iglesias undertakes his own present-day tour through the same areas, stopping off to quiz indigenous villagers and factory workers who have taken over the means of production in the wake of the country's economic collapse.
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Latin American Cinema